The Raider organization’s motto is “A commitment to excellence.” In the 1970’s and 80’s Al Davis built the Silver and Black into the most intimidating team in the NFL, on their way to three Super Bowl titles.
But, when the Raiders were smacked around by Tampa Bay and their former head coach Jon Gruden in their last Super Bowl appearance in 2002, it sent the organization into a seemingly irreversible, terminal velocity death spiral.
Since 2003, the Raiders have only won more than 5 games 3 times, and haven’t had one winning season. For most of that period, Oakland has been a league wide joke, filled with draft busts and incompetence. Cleveland West.
After Davis passed away in 2011, GM Reggie McKenzie took over player personnel decisions and began the monumental task of pulling the Raiders out of a figurative black hole. In 2014, he drafted Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr to assume the role of franchise quarterback. Carr wasn’t a sure thing by draft standards, but the Raiders went all in. It was the right call.
Fast forward to 2016, and the Carr led Raiders have turned the corner as a franchise. They’re 4-1 and leading the AFC West. Carr is completing 66% of his passes and has thrown for 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions, and has been a flatliner in several 4th quarter comeback wins.
He is the unquestioned leader of the franchise.
Today in The Herd, Colin said that in a quarterback driven league, Carr’s growth hasn’t only transformed the perception of the Raider organization, it’s made him the leading MVP candidate to this point in the season.
“If you sit there as a Raiders fan, that New Orleans game you would have lost without Derek Carr. And the Baltimore game you would have lost without Derek Carr. And yesterday’s game, forget the whiff on the field goal. You would have lost that game without Derek Carr, because San Diego scores 30 points a weekend. Derek Carr, to me, if you’re asking, “Most Valuable Player”? Derek Carr is the most valuable player in the league right now.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) October 10, 2016